Exercise and eating healthy can make a huge difference in life expectancy for people battling Type 1 diabetes. Support from others has also been shown to make a difference.
While there are several support groups for people with Type 2 diabetes in the area, there aren't very many for people with Type 1 diabetes. Now a Sioux Falls nurse practitioner is changing that.
53-year-old Robyn Magstadt is used to getting her blood sugar level checked. The Brookings woman was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 33 years ago.
"I was going to Augie and trying to make that work with classes. I had to eat at certain times with all the shots I took," Magstadt said.
Magstadt's daughter, brother and one of her grandfathers were all diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
"I had a grandfather who had lost his leg because of diabetes about 50 years ago now, so all those things were really scary," Magstadt said.
Talking to others with the disease has helped Magstadt stay healthy. She hosts a support group at her house in Brookings.
"With our friends we tell them we have to eat right now or I'm having a low. We don't want to elaborate why we're having to, but it's better to talk to people who live it," Magstadt said.
Now Magstadt's certified nurse practitioner is starting a Type 1 diabetes support group in Sioux Falls.
"I've actually had several patients and others in the community inquire about a specific Type 1 diabetes support group," Sanford Certified Nurse Practitioner Brandy Smith said.
Smith hopes the support group will not only give patients a chance to share information, but also give them a chance to simply talk to each other about the disease.
"Some of our most successful patients with Type 1 diabetes are those who take their medications and check their blood sugar are those who have a good support system around them," Smith said.
A support system that will hopefully help people like Magstadt be as healthy and happy as possible.
"I choose to eat better and exercise and maybe it's a good thing it happened to me. I shouldn't say that that way, but I feel like it," Magstadt said.
The support group is free and will be held the first Tuesday of every month, starting in September, at Sanford's main hospital. It lasts from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone with Type 1 diabetes can attend, even if you're not a Sanford patient.